Posted on: December 11th 2018

World War I Medal Returned

A medal has been returned to the family of local war hero having been found by a Hundred of Hoo pupil.  

A Hoo pupil found the medal whilst walking to school and shared it with Mr Sims, an ex-colleague here at Hoo and a keen world war enthusiast.  Aoife Dewar, a current 6th form pupil also found out about the medal and was keen to find out more about its origin and owner. 

​After some research, Aoife found out it was a death penny given to families of soldiers who died in the first world war. Aoife and her grandfather began to search to see if they could find any surviving relatives. She was invited on a trip to Belgium to research the war graves and decided to see if she could find the soldier on the brass Plaque.  She found him and took photograph’s of his grave.

Without an owner, Mr Sims gave Mrs Simone, our librarian, the brass plaque and told her the story and how Aoife had been trying to find the family without success. Mrs Simone’s hobby is tracing family tree’s and began searching again with Aoife.  They still couldn't find any living relatives, but the name John Day had some significance.  

Mrs Simone put the information online hoping somebody in the future would make contact. â€‹Aoife continued to search hoping one day to see a photo of the soldier Charles John Breach whose name was on the plaque.

One year later almost to the week, Mrs Simone received an email from someone in Dulwich who is connected to the church and war memorial in Dulwich asking if Mrs Simone is related to Charles John Breach as they have his name on their war memorial and are trying to trace relatives. 

The following day a member of the public also contacted Mrs Simone stating she may be related to Charles John Breach but wasn’t sure if all the information online was correct. She was, in fact, a first cousin twice removed!

Helen Webber and her daughter Elizabeth joined Aofie and Aoife’s grandparents, Mr & Mrs Collins,  Mr Sims and Mrs Simone for the plaque to be returned.  Mr Collins also kindly made a wooden statue to be presented to them.  It was a miracle that the search had ended the week of Remembrance day and it was more poignant being the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day. Mrs Webber shared photo’s and stories of her family which were full of laughter and a few tears. A lovely ending to the search. 

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